I noted in 2009:
Former Counter Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke told a leading expert on internet free speech, Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig, that there was going to be an “i-9/11”, in other words, an electronic terrorist act, and an “i-Patriot Act” to crack down on freedoms on the Internet under the guise of protecting against such threats:
There’s going to be an i-9/11 event. Which doesn’t necessarily mean an Al Qaeda attack, it means an event where the instability or the insecurity of the internet becomes manifest during a malicious event which then inspires the government into a response. You’ve got to remember that after 9/11 the government drew up the Patriot Act within 20 days and it was passed.
The Patriot Act is huge and I remember someone asking a Justice Department official how did they write such a large statute so quickly, and of course the answer was that it has been sitting in the drawers of the Justice Department for the last 20 years waiting for the event where they would pull it out.
Of course, the Patriot Act is filled with all sorts of insanity about changing the way civil rights are protected, or not protected in this instance. So I was having dinner with Richard Clarke and I asked him if there is an equivalent, is there an i-Patriot Act just sitting waiting for some substantial event as an excuse to radically change the way the internet works. He said “of course there is”.
(4.30 into this video).
We may have just had our i-911.
Specifically, the government is claiming that hackers defaced army and Nato websites, writing things like:
“Stop attacks u israel and usa ! you cursed nations ! one day muslims will clean the world from you ! “
This sounds a lot like the notes which were sent with the killer anthrax.
If we did just have our i-911, watch out for military spokesmen, politicians and talking heads pushing for an i-Patriot Act . . . as a way to crush free speech on the web.
LulzSec is the hacker group which took down the CIA’s website, the Senate website, as well as Sony and other websites.
LulzSec hasn’t demanded democracy, freedom, justice or any other worthy goals. They are just attacking websites.
As CBS News quotes previous Lulz statements:
“This is the lulz lizard era, where we do things just because we find it entertaining. Watching someone’s Facebook picture turn into a penis and seeing their sister’s shocked response is priceless. Receiving angry emails from the man you just sent 10 dildos to because he can’t secure his Amazon password is priceless. You find it funny to watch havoc unfold, and we find it funny to cause it. We release personal data so that equally evil people can entertain us with what they do with it.”
Nothing even remotely political about that statement, which fits with the group’s previous statements about its myriad exploits. Could it be that we’re simply dealing with a group of merry pranksters with a particular delight in making cyber-life miserable for the rest of us?
As Kurt Nimmo notes:
Nobody really knows who LulzSec is. It is, however, rather suspicious that the group has increased its hacking activities during a period when a number of cybersecurity bills are marching through Congress.
Note: I still can’t tell what the motives of the other main hacker group – Anonymous – are. They talk about freedom, justice, and empowerment. But this video raises a number of red flags for me (for example, why are people being encouraged to register on a specific website?), and I can’t yet tell whether they are trying to empower people or sabotage them.
Update: See PC Magazine’s must-read article.